-- Apparently elephants aren't big fans of diplomacy.
At least that's what Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake discovered on a trip last week to learn more about wildlife trafficking. Flake and several other senators were on a trip to Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to see some of the effects of wildlife trafficking and poaching firsthand.
During one outing on the trip Flake's convoy was charged by a group of elephants.
Hundreds of thousands of animals like elephants and rhinos are killed by poachers every year as part of a multi-billion-dollar industry for people who believe their tusks and horn have medicinal powers, Flake and fellow Sen. Chris Coons wrote in an op-ed for CNN.
Flake said the U.S. should keep supporting countries who deal with ivory poaching from elephants and rhinos because the money could go to criminal organizations to fund conflicts in the region.
"I wish it were something we were able to do more about, and we should be able to," Secretary of State John Kerry said in response to Flake's comments at a Senate Foreign Relations hearing on Tuesday.
Flake is the Republican chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy and was accompanied on the trip by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi), Ben Cardin, (D-Maryland), Chris Coons (D-Delaware) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California).
Flake and Coons have introduced a bill nicknamed the END Wildlife Trafficking Act that would help the federal government work with and provide help to countries working to stop poaching and wildlife trafficking.
"During our visit to Kenya, we saw the devastating impact of wildlife trafficking on some of the most iconic animals in some of the most beautiful places on Earth," Coons and Flake wrote in the CNN op-ed.
"But the impact doesn't stop there," they continued. "The growth of this illegal industry threatens the stability of vulnerable ecosystems and local communities, the health of their economies, and security at home and around the world."